Mentally disabled man taken off respirator

April 7, 2009 at 7:33 PM
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BATAVIA, Ohio, April 7 (UPI) -- A mentally disabled Ohio man suffering from terminal cancer has been removed from the respirator and feeding tube keeping him alive.

Ronnie Dragoo's sisters want their brother's life to end peacefully with as little pain as possible, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. But Cindy Dragoo of Miami, Ohio, and Donna Dragoo Theile of Newtonsville have no authority to make medical decisions for their brother because he is a ward of the state, so he remained on the respirator.

"I have prayed to God to have him die," Theile said. "No one deserves this."

The sisters said that their brother is unable to speak in full sentences.

"He doesn't know what dying means," Cindy Dragoo said.

Kathleen Rinto of Advocacy and Protective Services Inc., which has a contract with Ohio to serve as guardians for the mentally disabled, said that two doctors must sign off on decisions that could end someone's life and that the person must be in a coma or terminally ill, the newspaper said.

Ronnie Dragoo was moved to a different hospital where two doctors were willing to recommend taking him off life support. On Monday, the respirator and feeding tube were removed, and the doctors also signed a do-not-resuscitate order.

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